vulture precaps

Where We Are As We Enter Season 8 of Dexter

DEXTER (SEASON 8) Photo: Showtime 2013

When we last saw the Morgan siblings in December, their minds (and ours) had just been blown. Dexter was on the verge of executing perpetual pain-in-the-ass LaGuerta, who’d uncovered his secret life as a serial killer — and then Debra showed up and shot their boss dead. Those final moments that followed, as Deb and Dex walked in slow motion, arms linked and with thousand-yard stares on their faces, is still unsettling months later.

So, now what? With Dexter about to begin its eighth and final season, let’s run down the major story lines that remain unresolved heading into Sunday’s premiere. Included are a few minor spoiler-y details that have already been revealed in the press or shown in previews, so if you’ve been in a complete Dexter-news blackout, be forewarned. (But also note that, even though I have an advance copy of Sunday’s episode in my possession, I haven’t watched it yet; we’re all in this roller-coaster ride together.)

Deb’s  Mental State
Not only was Deb coping with romantic feelings about her brother last season, she was also coming to terms with his homicidal hobby. Now that she’s gone from cop to cop killer, a breakdown was inevitable. The question is, how far will she spiral? Judging by this clip from the season premiere, the answer appears to be pretty damn far. (It also looks like she could set a record for number of F-bombs in a single episode.) It has been reported that this season begins six months after LaGuerta’s death, with Deb having left Miami Metro to work with a private investigator, played by Sean Patrick Flannery. All signs seem to point Deb toward a tragic end. My one concern is that considering how far gone she seems now, the comic relief her potty-mouth usually provides will be diminished. Regardless, as Deb has grown into such a rich and vital character, I’m as invested in her fate as I am in her brother’s.

Aftermath of LaGuerta’s Death
Sadly, we may never learn whether Batista would have become the Cuban version of Guy Fieri, as he had to put his plan to retire and run a restaurant on hold. He’s back at Miami Metro this season and, one could reasonably guess, upset about LaGuerta’s murder. With the department’s most competent cop in a position to investigate the details of his ex-wife’s demise, both Dexter and Deb have a real reason to worry. LaGuerta must have left behind some evidence linking Dexter to Doakes, or Deb to the church where the Doomsday Killer went up in flames, right?

Quinn and Jamie
After Quinn’s stripper girlfriend dumped him with a note and fled to Europe, he cozied up to Dexter’s nanny, Jamie. Knowing Quinn’s track record with women, that can’t be a good thing for Batista’s little sis. Perhaps Jamie will finally wise up to Dexter’s odd behavior, making the Morgans struggle to keep what’s now a family secret even harder.

Dexter’s Son
When all is said and done, will little Harrison become more than a plot complication? Curious to see if the series ends on a forward-looking note, with a glimpse of Dexter’s son as a teenager, as we saw in a brief vision of a possible future last season. Maybe Harrison entering the police academy? Or visiting his father on death row?

The End of the Code?
Lost in the shock of LaGuerta’s death was Dexter’s decision to kill the father of his on-again, on-the-lamb-again girlfriend, Hannah. That was a distinct Code breaker, a violation of his father Harry’s golden rule that only killers should be killed. Dexter’s haywire moral compass may get some fine-tuning thanks to a new character — a psychologist (played by Charlotte Rampling) who had a role in helping Harry create the Code years ago.

A Woman Scorned
Speaking of Hannah, she didn’t escape prison to go away quietly. Actress Yvonne Strahovski has said that her character will “shake things up in Dexter’s life, more so than last time.” Considering she left a plant on Dexter’s doorstep and knows a scary-lot about poisons, it seems her parting gift was less a present and more a warning. With Hannah and a new Big Bad to contend with, Dexter will be paying Jamie for a lot of overtime.

Dexter’s Fate
Of course, all of these story lines take a backseat to the question that likely won’t be answered until the final episode in September: How does this road end for Dexter? Death seems inevitable — but by whose hand? Will it be the very pro-capital-punishment state of Florida’s? Another serial killer’s? Or perhaps Deb’s?

With all that to ponder and more, what are you anticipating the most as the series draws to a close? Any guess for what’s in store for Dexter and Deb?

Your Dexter Season 8 Primer